Take one part family legacy, add another part sound preparation and throw in some unique circumstances, and you can get some pretty amazing results. This can be seen in the journey of Jeremiah Mostrom ’03.
While Jeremiah is from Eden Prairie, he grew up visiting Decorah often and knowing “a ton” about Luther College. His grandfather’s twin sister, Ruth Mostrom, was one of the college’s first female faculty and administrators, serving as registrar and teaching Greek and Latin among other positions, from 1950-81. Several other family members followed in the Luther legacy.
Being involved in wrestling, football, and choir made Luther an even easier choice. While at Luther, Jeremiah sang in a choir all four years while also being an athlete. “I remember singing part of a concert, then taking off my robe and running to the Regents Center to wrestle, then coming back to sing some more.”
The true “switch of uniforms” can be seen in Jeremiah’s career path. At Luther, Jeremiah majored in education, but before he student taught, another opportunity presented itself.
Rewind to Jeremiah’s high school years, when both of his parents battled cancer. A football teammate’s 5-year old brother was diagnosed with leukemia. The two families became friends, sharing an interest in finding ways to live healthier and eliminate chemicals from their everyday lives. This passion and their fathers' business backgrounds led to the creation of Simply Organic® in 2001, a manufacturer of professional plant-based hair and skin care.
The effects of 9/11 and a bankrupt supplier, however, led the company to a rough start. The fathers were about to throw in the towel, when in 2004, Jeremiah, now a recent Luther grad, reconnected with his friend and said, “We can make this work!” The two stepped in and took over their fathers’ faltering business.
Jeremiah and his friend went to 50 banks to get a loan, and then paired with a local, small manufacturing company in Spring Park, Minnesota. They focused on the Internet and building relationships with salons to drive sales, and expanded the product line. In a couple years, the company grew from less than $100,000 in sales to nearly $4 million. It is now the product choice of stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Keanu Reeves and Ben Stiller, and business is expanding.
“The beauty industry is somewhat recession-proof,” says Jeremiah. “People are not willing to sacrifice their values, such as sustainability, and women are not willing to sacrifice their beauty.”
Jeremiah attributes much of his business success to lessons learned at Luther. “Luther wants people to be well-rounded, which really serves you well after you get out,” Jeremiah says. “Things you learn in Paideia become really beneficial when you’re running a business!”
Jeremiah traveled to Stavanger, Norway, on a summer trip through Luther and recently had a chance to return with work. He says his Norwegian classes have actually paid off professionally in that the line is sold in 18 different countries, with one of their biggest clients being in Norway. “Because I took Norwegian and Scandinavian fine handicrafts, being in the Norwegian culture has been a bonus for me.”
For more information on Simply Organic, visit https://www.simplyorganicbeauty.com/secret